Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley announced for Universal Orlando for 2014 with Hogwarts Express, Gringotts ride

in Entertainment, Featured, Movies, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced details of the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for their Orlando theme parks. The new area will be called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, bringing new rides, a restaurant, and shops based on the “Harry Potter” series.

The new area is scheduled to open in 2014, expanding beyond the Islands of Adventure theme park where the existing Wizarding World is located into the Universal Studios Florida theme park, creating a multi-park experience, bringing to life experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films.

Video: Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley announced with artwork

“We are continuing the journey and adding an entirely new level of adventure,” said Tom Williams, Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. “And we are bringing the same drive, commitment, enthusiasm and innovation to this project as we did to the first.”

UPDATE: Take a closer look at Diagon Alley through an extensive interview with Universal Creative Senior Vice President Thierry Coup.

Diagon Alley and ‘London’ are already under construction, located in the former location of the Jaws ride, near the San Francisco area of the park.

Guests will be able to travel between the new ‘London’ area and the existing Wizarding World’s Hogsmeade Village aboard the Hogwarts Express – a real working train passing between the two parks.

The marquee attraction of the Diagon Alley area will be based on Gringotts bank, an indoor roller coaster of sorts that will feature plenty of special effects.

Just once piece of concept art has been released so far, offering a glimpse at what Diagon Alley will look like:

Taking a closer look reveals a few details from the area. A dragon is perched high atop Gringotts Bank as a centerpiece:

Streets are lined with shops, including what appears to be Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in the lower-right:

But from outside Diagon Alley, guests casually strolling through Universal Studios Florida will only see a London waterfront, a facade designed to hide the Wizarding World from the Muggles:

Parked out front is the instantly-recognizable Knight Bus, which previously made an appearance at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter grand opening at Islands of Adventure:

And connecting it all to Hogsmeade Village and the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be the Hogwarts Express train, expected to have innovative visuals while passing between the parks:

To bring Diagon Alley and ‘London’ to life, Universal’s creative team is working closely with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films – just as it did for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

“I’m so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I’m sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience,” said J.K. Rowling.

“We are thrilled to offer the legions of fans the opportunity to embark on this new journey and experience Diagon Alley as it was brought to life in the books and films,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

Construction on the Wizarding World expansion has been in progress for months, beginning with the demolition of the Jaws ride more than a year ago. A recent look at the San Francisco area of the Universal Studios Florida theme park reveals the waterfront ‘London’ facades taking shape:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade (the apparent new name for the original area) opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in June 2010, entertaining millions of people from around the world since then. And the world will surely be captivated by the construction at Universal Studios Florida as next year’s opening date draws nearer.


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    Richard W

    Nothing about Nocturn Alley then? Wonder if that’s it on the left of Dragonf head?

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      It’s spelled Knockturn Alley, you uncultured swine!

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    I am VERY curious about how they will handle the connecting train. Will you have to buy a special ticket? Will the tickets be available at the train station?

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      You’ll need a two park ticket to be able to ride the train.

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    Is there an official date? Or are they just saying 2014 for now? Early or late?

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      Speculation from Orlando Informer says that the train construction is progressing faster then the rest of London and may have soft openings as early as January-March of 2014, but I’m sure we can expect an opening of the entire area, HOPEFULLY (this is only my speculation based on the past), by June or December of 2014. Why December? Because it gives them more time AND most of the movies were released in June and December.

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        If they wait till December, they can have both areas fully decked-out for Christmas. (Happy sigh…)

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    Cant wait for this! Any idea on a more specific opening date than just 2014? That could mean december next year! Also, how are they going to go about the two parks thing? Are only people with a one day two park ticket going to be allowed on the train? Or is there going to be a supliment to the price of a one park ticket if you want to go between Harry Potter areas?

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    I bet that concepts for a STAR WARS Land at Disney went into high gear when rumors of this attraction first surfaced. With absolutely no proof whatsoever, my inner nerd expects an announcement on that front within the next 6 months.

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      I honestly agree with you but it probably won’t be star wars. It’ll most likely be another huge box office hit not by Disney again.

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        Teddy Leo

        Hopefully they announce a overhaul to Hollywood Studios. Just like the California adventure overhaul. I completely agree they have to be thinking the success this will bring to universal

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          When you think Disney, the biggest theme park business in the world, already had the licence for Star Wars for many years and never went beyond one ride and one store I’m wondering if they going to try a bit harder now they own the propperty but I doubt it.
          When Universal can make buckloeds of cash with a licence how is Disney failing in that department.
          Still it would be cool if we would get a awesome Star Wars Land but for now it looks like Disney is happy with the money that is roling in without opening an e-ticket in a very long time in WDW.

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            Avatar is the next big project at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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    as far as the question of wether you’ll need a 2 park ticket to go back and forth i believe that this new part of harry potter will officially be a part of islands of adventure and that you will be able to get to it with just an IOA ticket. there’s a big clue in Rickys report-“But from outside Diagon Alley, guests casually strolling through Universal Studios Florida will only see a London waterfront, a facade designed to hide the Wizarding World from the Muggles”. so my theory is that there will be a gate outside diagon alley that allows people to get into the studios if they have a 2 park ticket.

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      the more I think about it i know the gate has to be on the outside of diagon alley because of events like Halloween horror nights which starts well before IOA closes. when an event like HHN starts they simply close the gate and people who are in IOA will still be able to travel back and forth on the train until it closes at 8.

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      It was confirmed on another forum you’ll need a two park ticket to ride the train.

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        by whom? I think theres some validity to my theory

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          An email sent out by Universal. This land is part of Universal Studios Florida. A 2 park ticket or AP is required to ride the Hogwarts Express.

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          the Miami herald says you will need a 2 park ticket so I guess it must be true. having a gate outside the area will still accommodate my theory that it can be closed so people can still travel back and forth between the two HP areas even after HHN starts. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/08/3386990/diagon-alley-to-open-at-universal.html true.

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            And this is what it said in the Orlando Sentinel:
            Universal did not release details on how park-to-park access would operate after Diagon Alley opens or if guests would have to buy a two-park pass to enter both sections of Wizarding World. Those logistics will be announced later, a Universal spokeswoman said today.
            “It’s going to be extraordinary to be able to travel between London and Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express. Things will happen along the way,” Coup said.


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        It makes financial sense that you’d need a two park ticket to ride the train. Think of how much more money they will make doing it that way than if you could access both parts of WWHP with just one ticket. And we all know how the theme parks LOVE them some money! We were recently at Universal and they were conducting market research which focused heavily on “Do you think Universal Studios is a good value? Is there enough to do, etc” I’m SURE that it had to do with this, especially now, since the last question was “How do you feel about Harry Potter?”

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    Whoopee! Dolphin squeal! This is very exciting news. Disney better get moving with that Avatar land project or start working on a Star Wars land (suggested by since1976) ASAP!

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      Someone from Disney Imagineering announced recently that Avatar is coming in 2017. I doubt they would be able to build any other ‘lands’ before Avatar (considering the speed with which Disney builds things usually).

      This Wizarding expansion looks spectacular. My whole family is super excited about it already. Planning on going next summer.

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    I am sure you will have to have a 2 park ticket to board the train in either direction, which won’t be hard to enforce. The whole point of them putting it in Universal studios park is to increase the 2 park ticket sales, which is pretty damn smart. They will just make a ticket stand and turnstiles in order to board. Like Disneyland in California in order to get on the monorail at downtown disney OUTSIDE Disneyland they have a ticket scanner before you can board since it drops you off INSIDE the park.

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    This is very exciting news for me in California. I was planning on taking a trip to see the wizarding world there is Florida, then they announced the construction out here at Universal and now…an even bigger experience in Florida. I think I will have to change my plans for 2014 for the Florida trip. As for Star Wars land, we fans are patiently waiting for confirmation. I’ve had concept art for such a place planned out since I was little, way back in 1985.

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    I am extremely excited for this! I know right now this is all what they’ve announced, but I want to find out if they are doing something with the knight bus, or will it just be a set piece like the hogwarts express in the existing area?

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    Disney will respond with yet another Princess meet-and-greet.

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      ^Your comment made my day, even though I did enjoy New Fantasyland. (That is what you were referencing, right?)

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      Vince S

      Unfortunately your probably right. Also, if Disney thinks Avatar will even come close to competing with Harry Potter, they are kidding them selves.

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        I wonder how many glittering princesses a girl needs to be satisfied, right?
        Thank god they killed of the Tinkelbell tree to put a dwarf coaster in there. But I can’t help to think why Disney needed to put a little mermaid in there with the most boring peoplemover ride system. They already have a Mermaid show in DHS. And see what Sea World is doing with their wonderful ride system for Antartica, why did Disney become so stale?

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          Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t DISNEY invent that ride system for a ride (“Pooh’s Hunny Hunt”, I believe) in one of their foreign parks years ago?

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    Lets hope common sense lessons have been learnt and that they make the shops a lot bigger than in the original Wizarding World.

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      Ricky Brigante

      The shops won’t be much bigger, as told in my interview with Universal Creative Senior Vice President Thierry Coup: http://www.insidethemagic.net/2013/05/closer-look-diagon-alley-secrets-sizes-details-and-dragons-revealed-for-harry-potter-expansion-at-universal-orlando/

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    can it just be 2014 already? can’t wait to go back there and enjoy it all

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